One of the gifts we’ve received during the holidays was a super special box of Royal Riviera pears from Harry and David.  Inside the box, a little card with a recipe for a salad that would make the pears shine.  They ship the pears slightly unripe, with instructions on the best way to store them as they reach their peak, and also on how to tell when they get there.  We had to wait for a little less than a week, then enjoyed the juiciest pears ever!   The salad? It was so good that we made it again a couple of days later… Come to think of it, that in itself is a huge endorsement, because I tend not to crave salads during the cold months of the year.

Rogue Valley Salad

(recipe adapted from Harry & David)

for the dressing:
2 tbsp Champagne vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp agave nectar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup walnut oil (I used less)

for the salad:
1 head butter lettuce, washed and dried
1 large Royal Riviera Pears, peeled, cored and sliced
1/4  cup Rogue Creamery or other blue cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup  toasted walnuts

Make the dressing: Mix together the first five ingredients. Gradually whisk in the walnut oil. Chill for 20 minutes.

Gently tear the lettuce into bite sized pieces. Arrange on four chilled plates. Top with fans of pear slices. Sprinkle blue cheese evenly over the pears and lettuce and top with nuts. Drizzle the dressing generously over the salad, and serve at once.


to print the recipe, click here


The recipe calls for 1/2 cup of walnut oil, I used a lot less than that but kept the other amounts the same. I like my salad to be just barely coated with dressing and prefer it a little less oily. Also, considering the price for walnut oil, I rather use it with a little less abandon. 😉   On my second time preparing this recipe, the dressing was similar, but instead of walnuts I used very thinly sliced celery.  I mixed the celery with the dressing as it chilled for 20 minutes and then incorporated both into the other components.  Two pears were consumed in the name of this delicious salad, the others we enjoyed late at night, usually watching nice movies…  Like the trilogy:  Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, and Before Midnight.  I highly recommend those, Julie Delpy is simply superb!

ONE YEAR AGO: Keema Beef Curry

TWO YEARS AGO: Pork Tenderloin with Soy, Ginger, and Lime

THREE YEARS AGO: No-Fuss Coffee Cake

FOUR YEARS AGO: Swedish Limpa


  1. I’m intrigued by the combination of pears, blue cheese and, to a lesser degree, walnuts. I recently bought a small container of blue cheese (it’s too strong for me to eat straight but I love it with Buffalo Wings) that I wanted to combine with pears for a dessert. Then I had to throw away the pears cause they hung around a bit too long in my fruit crisper. When the weather gets better (as in STOPS snowing every other day now that I’m dug out) I plan to go out and pick up some pears and give a salad a try. I wonder if I can use Romaine instead of butter lettuce though.


    • I use Romaine lettuce a lot, it is pretty much my default lettuce because I like the way it stands to a dressing. For this salad, I am sure it will work, but there’s something about the tenderness of the butter lettuce that makes it super special…


    • Very delicious salad… reminded me of another salad I made years ago with spinach and thinly sliced potatoes, crisped up on top of the stove. Sounds odd, but it was amazing….


  2. What a great present to receive! Love the idea of living food as a gift; will have to investigate that next year — glad you mentioned the company. This is one of our favorite salad combinations Sally — toasted nuts and blue cheese — a heavenly pairing that never fails to make everyone swoon. The kids love it too. I have not tried walnut oil (I don’t think) but yes, all of those ‘fancy’ oils are tragically expensive, aren’t they… (mind you, probably less expensive than your beloved saffron😉 ).


    • Ah, the saffron….. that was one of the most special gifts I’ve received, and I still have quite a bit left. In fact… I used some today in a cornish hen recipe that should be on the blog next month…


  3. Hello sweet friend. What a beautiful salad. Aren’t pears and walnuts just splendid together? Especially when you throw in a lovely vinaigrette. I love receiving and giving living food. Such perfect gifts, huh? Thank you for sharing!


    • Hello back to you! Nice to “see” you here, in the middle of what I imagine is a pretty busy weekend for you with the beginning of your new job! Hope all is going great!


  4. I DVR’d Before Midnight the other day and plan to watch it this week!!! I’ve been waiting. I love those movies Sally.🙂 I love the combo of flavors in this salad. Mike typically turns his nose up at blue cheese though. I’ll have to find a suitable substitute for him, but as for me, I’d devour it!


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